An examination of available information on privatized enterprises in Ethiopia shows that companies owned by, or affiliated with, Ethio-Saudi billionaire Sheik Mohammed Al Amoudi have purchased the vast majority (in terms of value) of enterprises.
Nearly every enterprise of significant monetary or strategic value privatized since 1994 has passed from the ownership of the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) to one of Al Amoudi’s companies. While the privatizations of these enterprises were for the most part competitive tenders, the dominance of Al Amoudi brings into question the true competitiveness of the process.According to information provided in December by EPA, 254
enterprises have been privatized to date, 21 of which went to Al Amoudi companies. EPA declined to give price information to post. While companies related to Sheik Al Amoudi have purchased a small number of the total privatized entities, the Sheik has cherry-picked the best of the companies sold to date. For example, Legedembi is the only large scale gold mine in the country, and Wush Wush is the sole plantation-style tea producer. There are no overt indications of impropriety in the bidding process, and the Sheik is likely the wealthiest entity to have a significant interest in the Ethiopian economy. However, Al Amoudi is known to have close ties to the ruling TPLF/EPRDF regime, and rumors persist of favorable treatment. Regardless of these unproven accusations, the Sheik’s influence in the Ethiopian economy cannot be underestimated.
Post will continue to track privatization and monitor future awards for any indications of a more inclusive process. Read full here.